The St George Illawarra Dragons' Board has announced that Chairman Warren Lockwood tendered his resignation on Tuesday, and will be replaced by former CEO and player Brian Johnston.
Presently the club's joint venture arrangements provide for the Chairman being appointed by the St George shareholder and this decision is a key part of the Dragons' succession planning and management.
The St George Leagues Club Board met on Sunday and resolved to nominate Director Johnston as the new Chairman – a position that was formally ratified by the full St George Illawarra Dragons Board on Tuesday.
Lockwood has had a long history with not only the Dragons but so too the game, having previously been the Chairman of NSWRL (1998-1999) and the first ever Chairman of the NRL.
First appointed as Chairman of the St George Rugby League Football Club in 1991, Lockwood has held the point as the Chairman of the St George Illawarra Dragons since 2001.
"It was an honour to be elected as Chairman 16 years ago but I thought it was time for me to move on and let the club have a fresh start with Brian Johnston, who is an ideal candidate to take the position," Lockwood said.
"It's been an interesting experience, I've met people I never imagined I would, and I've also learnt a lot over the years.
"I've been very lucky to have great support from my family; my wife Jan and my children Gary and Sandra."
Johnston was Chief Executive Officer of the Dragons (1996-2000) before stepping down for personal reasons.
Between 2000 and 2010, Johnston has successfully attained a Masters in Business Administration, Science and Logistics and Business Coaching, all from the University of Wollongong.
Since 2000, Johnston has held positions such as CEO of Office National before moving on to Suncorp Group where he worked in a number of senior roles.
Thereafter, Johnston held a number of senior commercial and business roles acted as an executive manager for other insurance companies such as GIO and Vero, while more recently he has worked as a business consultant for IAG.
"I feel very privileged and honoured to fill this position. I will do everything I possibly can to emulate the fine work that's been done in the past and to carry on the traditions that Warren Lockwood has built," Johnston said.
"With him remaining on the Board, I'll be able to lean on him if I need some support in the initial stages."
Johnston also played 10 seasons with St George Dragons, where he accumulated 166 games, and also represented New South Wales (1984, 1986-89 – eight Origins) and Australia (1987 – one Test).
The Dragons remain in discussions with WIN Television and other interested parties with respect to the 50 per cent shareholding held by the Steelers Club.
"Our discussions are complex and ongoing but we are positive that we will have a clear resolution in the coming months," Johnston said.
"In the longer term, if I were to have a legacy for the game it would be around the financial sustainability of rugby league franchises.
"If we can ensure at the Dragons we further develop our unique business model… that's something I'm very happy to contribute towards."